Just because Robinson Cano asked the Yankees for more than $300 million doesn’t mean he will require that sizable an amount in free agency.
Cano made his 10-year, $300 million-plus request before the All-Star break, according to major-league sources. At the time, that was his price for foregoing the open market, sources said.
Now that Cano is a free agent, the bidding starts clean. Whether he gets $150 million, $200 million or $300 million likely will be more a function of the market than his personal goals.
Cano, like most players, valued his opportunity to become a free agent, sources said. He essentially wanted the Yankees to buy him out of the opportunity, and it did not happen.
The Yankees, according to the New York Post, offered Cano a seven-year deal for about $165 million. The interest of other clubs is unclear, but two factors will work in Cano’s favor – the consistency of his performance, and the increase in each team’s annual national television revenue from $25 million to $52 million starting next season.
Cano, 31, leads all major leaguers in Wins Above Replacement (WAR) over the past five seasons, according to baseball-reference.com’s calculation of the measure.
He is fifth according to the Fangraphs version of WAR, behind Miguel Cabrera, Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist and Joey Votto, who also are in the top five according to baseball-reference, though not in that order.
Teams also value Cano for his durability; he has missed only 14 games in the past seven seasons. And while the Los Angeles Dodgers, another presumed bidder, have indicated they will not bid for Cano, the booming state of the industry might create openings for other clubs.
Most assume the Yankees will keep Cano, in part because they can ill afford to lose him, and in part because he wants to stay in New York. But given the questions surrounding the Yankees’ immediate future, Cano will at least listen to other teams outline their plans. That, after all, was part of his motivation for becoming a free agent.
A news conference announcing Cano’s return to the Yankees is still the most likely outcome, but his early $300 million request no longer applies.
That number, sources said, was Cano’s price at a specific stage of the negotiations. It is not necessarily his price now.